‘Collector’ calling

First Look flexes syndie arm with anthology

First Look Pictures has set up a TV syndication division and started pitching the 40 episodes of supernatural sci-fi anthology series “The Collector.”

Series is in repeats after completing its run on City TV stations in Toronto, Vancouver and other Canadian cities, as well as on the Space Channel (Canada’s equivalent of the Sci Fi Channel).

Chum TV, which owns City TV and Space Channel, helped to finance the series at $1.1 million an hour, making it one of the most expensive scripted Canadian shows ever produced. Canuck government tax shelters also offset production costs.

Skein is offbeat, to say the least.

The job of the collector, played by Chris Kramer as an Earth-bound but immortal employee of Satan, is to tell people who have sold their soul to the devil that the contract (always for 10 years) will expire in 48 hours. Characters who engineered deals with Beelzebub include a rapper, a prosecutor, a supermodel, an ice skater, a photographer, a medium, a yogi and a children’s book writer. They each get a chance at redemption to relieve the gloom of the show’s premise.

“We think ‘The Collector’ is a departure from all of the crime, police, forensic shows on TV stations’ schedules,” said Gene Lavelle, VP of TV sales for First Look.

Spearheaded by Ken DuBow, exec VP of worldwide sales, First Look is marketing “Collector” for weekend timeslots beginning in fall 2007.

The syndie competition for “Collector” in fall ’07 includes weekend reruns of such series as “CSI: Miami,” “Cold Case,” “Without a Trace,” “The Dead Zone” and “Las Vegas.”

As is typical of weekend syndication deals, stations don’t pay cash for “Collector” but hand over seven commercial minutes to First Look to sell to national advertisers. (The stations also keep seven minutes for local sale.)

First Look is asking stations to schedule two runs of each “Collector” hour during the weekend and to sign two-year deals.

Exec producers of “Collector” are Larry Sugar (who also directed some episodes) and the team of Jon Cooksey and Ali Marie Matheson (who created the series and wrote a number of episodes).

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